St. Patrick’s Church, Ferguson’s Falls, Lanark County

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In 1856 St. Patrick’s church was erected in Ferguson’s Falls on land donated by the Quinn family.  It is one of the oldest Catholic missions in Ontario and two of its own members joined the priesthood:  Father Michael Stafford, son of pioneer Tobias Stafford and Elizabeth McGarry entered the priesthood in 1858.  Also Reverend Edmund Quinn, son of John Quinn and Anna Byrnes entered the priesthood in 1947.

Before St. Patrick’s was built, the local Roman Catholics had to travel to St. John’s Church in Perth which was a long, difficult journey by horse and buggy, particularly in the long, harsh winter months.

This photograph shows my brother Roger Stafford entering the grounds of the cemetery at St. Patrick’s yesterday, July 4th.  Many of the early Roman Catholic pioneers are buried in this cemetery.  The Staffords, the Richards, the Quinns, the McGarrys, McKittricks, Blairs, Carberrys, Kehoes,McCaffreys to name a few.

The old church is set in a beautiful location not far from the mighty Mississippi and is a lovely spot to visit and to reflect on a warm sunny day like yesterday.  We remember those who came before us and stood on these very grounds and had their baptisms, weddings and funerals at this small church. It is well worth a visit for anyone with local connections to spend some time at this sacred spot in Ferguson’s Falls.

6 comments on “St. Patrick’s Church, Ferguson’s Falls, Lanark County

  1. J MainS says:

    I bought the log home directly beside the church last August.

    I was wondering if you had, or knew where to find the history of this house. I heard it was built in the 1830s by the Grey family, and has since then been a pub, and an art gallery. But I would like to get the whole history of the house.

    Thank you,
    J Mains

  2. Ashley Jessup says:

    Is this church open for weddings? I am getting married in a couple of years and its a scottish/ Irish wedding and it would be great if it was.

  3. Brian Sarsfield says:

    Hello Arlene, I heard a very interesting story about St Patrick’s Church Ferguson’s Falls today 3 Oct 2015, while on a historical tour of Clayton Village today. We always know there was a Roman Catholic Cemetery (cared for by Holy Name of Mary Parish – Almonte) on the 2 line of Ramsay Township near Clayton, on land settled in 1823 ish by a Peterson Robinson Settler from Ireland named Michael McGoran, who was a Catholic. Locally people have thought that since this cemetery was filled, then another one Highway 29 is now in use. It seems that there was also a church beside this cemetery. This church was named St Patrick’s and in the early 1850’s it was moved to Ferguson’s Falls. Might you know the reasons why it was moved to Ferguson’s Falls? Certainly at the time these Catholics who lived above Clayton, created a floating bridge as a short cut in the 1850’s to across the narrows between Clayton Lake and Taylor Lake, so they to attend Mass in Ferguson’s Falls.

    • Hello Brian – I hadn’t heard of St. Patrick’s church being moved. My ancestors from County Wexford, Ireland attended St. Patrick’s, continuing down to my father who attended with his parents. It was built on land donated by the Quinn family and was mainly to accommodate people who had been taking horse and buggy, or walking to St. John’s in Perth. Also, it would not have been in the same parish as Almonte. It was established under the same parish as St. John’s and later, under the same parish as Sacred Heart of Jesus in Lanark Village – a church which my grandfather helped to construct. Sacred Heart and St. Patrick’s were clustered in the same Archdiocese – which is located in Kingston, Ontario. The Staffords have a long history of service with the House of Providence within the Kingston Archdiocese, both nuns and priests. It might be helpful to contact the Kingston Archdiocese – 390 Palace Road, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, K7L 4T3, 613-548-4461, as they may be able to shed more light on this for you.

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